- Photo Essays
It’s been almost exactly ten years since I packed my bags and watched from the plane window as the Vancouver skyline disappeared from sight. After living there for a year it was a teary goodbye as I promised my friends that I would be back – that it wasn’t ‘goodbye’ but that I would ‘see you soon’.
Ten years is a long time. So much can change.
We were all in our mid-twenties then and many things have come to pass: career changes, study, new friends, children, husbands, lovers, broken hearts and of course, travel.
Although I was insanely excited to see my old friends again, I had no idea how it would go. Our circumstances have changed, and so too may have our friendship. But I couldn’t even contemplate the idea of travelling through Canada and not seeing them
But I fell back into my friendship with them like barely a day had passed. It was as easy as breathing.
I stayed with my former roommate in her apartment in Yaletown…which she now shares with her husband and two gorgeous little boys. Within an hour we were laughing over glasses of wine, half-watching old episodes of Sex and The City and reminiscing over old times.
So my relationship with my friends was better than I could’ve expected, but what about with the city itself? I fell in love with this city all those years ago and I have always maintained that it is one of my favourites.
My first day in downtown Vancouver I took a map thinking I would never remember what was where. But as I wandered it all came flooding back.
I happily threw away the map. It was just as vibrant as I remembered.
I spent a good part of my time in Vancouver thinking I could definitely live here again and deliberating how possible that is: visa applications, relocating to another country…the thought is still hovering in the back of my mind.
Although most of what were our usual haunts are still around, the days of two-dollar Margarita Mondays and grungy downtown bars with black walls are no more. (In the case of the grungy bar DV8, it really is no more – it burnt down a few years ago!)
Instead, on my last day I sat with one of my girlfriends in a classy bar, sipping classy champagne whilst we discussed the pros and cons of being a single woman in her mid-thirties (mostly pros). The man I was dating for the better part of my time in Vancouver is now married with a child…if that doesn’t make you feel old, then nothing will!
So what is it about these friends that we make when we travel?
I watched a documentary recently called A Map for Saturday about a late twenty-something guy who takes a year off from his corporate life to travel. One of the things he is fairly insistent about is that the friendships you make when you travel are always fleeting – that none of these relationships can be sustained or maintained in the real world. He argues that even if you do keep in touch initially, the emails will eventually dry up and the friendship will follow suit.
I entirely disagree!
A huge part of my ‘real world’ involves travelling. And although I inevitably meet a large number of people when I travel, I don’t necessarily build friendships with all of them.
When you are lucky enough to have an instant connection with someone, I think it’s a shame to just let that go simply because you live in another part of the world. And entirely unnecessary. With the limitless technology we have now, maintaining friendships has never been easier.
I have people all over the world that I keep in touch with regularly and who I consider true friends; who I would welcome into my home with open arms. And who I am sure would do the same for me.
My amazing friends in Vancouver are solid proof of that.
Having said that, ten years is much too long between martinis my friends, and I intend to tighten the time frame between now and the next time I travel to Vancouver
I can’t wait to ‘see you all soon’…and I really mean it this time.